Core Strategy Preferred Policies

[estimated] Ended on the 1 February 2010
If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.

7. Natural Resource Management

Protecting important countryside resources

7.1 The main challenges for the district in terms of the natural environment are to protect

  • the character and beauty of the countryside
  • the diversity of its landscape, heritage and wildlife
  • the wealth of its natural resources

7.2 The need to protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment for the enjoyment of all and to provide a better quality of life is supported by government guidance and regionally through the South East Plan. Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas reiterates the need for the continued protection of the open countryside for all, while encouraging economic growth and promoting development that is for the long-term benefit of the area.

Landscape

CP16 Preferred Landscape Policy

The District’s landscape resources will be protected and enhanced.  Priority will be given to:

1) Protecting and enhancing the natural beauty and special character of the landscape of the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the designated South Downs National Park and their settings. Support will be given to the Ambitions within the South Downs Management Plan;

2) Protecting and enhancing local distinctiveness and sense of place as set out in the district’s Landscape Character Assessment;

3) Protecting and enhancing those features which contribute to the distinctive character of the district’s landscape, such as significant topographical features, trees, woodlands, hedgerows, watercourses, sunken lanes and rural buildings;

4) Incorporating appropriate new planting to enhance the landscape setting of new development which uses native species and enhances biodiversity; and

5) Working with landowners and others to ensure land management practices to improve public access to the countryside, protect and enhance valued landscapes of major importance for wild flora and fauna, and restore landscapes where valued features have been lost or degraded.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPS7
South East Plan Policies C2, C3, C4, C5
Sustainable Community Strategy Priority Outcomes:
5.1(4) Prevent the loss of our community’s distinctive character by ensuring new development takes account of the wider area, such as neighbouring buildings, townscape and landscape. For example through the use of town and village design statements.
5.2 (1) Improve the quality of the local environment, especially in the hot spot areas.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
Core Strategy Objective CSOE2  To conserve and enhance landscape quality and character and landscape designations.
Policy Indicator Local Indicator:
Number of new Village and Town Design Statements.
Delivery Bodies EHDC, South Downs Joint Committee, landowners, development industry

Background evidence

7.3 The district is rightly proud of the character and attractive appearance of the countryside and its protection is essential. The distinct and varied landscape provides a very attractive rural setting that defines the whole area, providing opportunities for agriculture, forestry, recreation and tourism and supporting rural communities and economies. 

7.4 Approximately 40% of the district is currently within the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Part of the district is also within the recently-created South Downs National Park, which extends the protected area of East Hampshire to up to 55%. AONB and national park status gives national recognition to the special importance of the area and offers the highest level of protection. National parks have the added objective of promoting suitable recreation and tourism. The new national park’s importance and special status is reflected in Policy C2 of the South East Plan.

7.5 The policy within AONBs and National Parks is to protect and enhance their natural beauty and conserve wildlife and cultural heritage, whilst having regard to social and economic considerations. Major developments should not take place within them unless exceptional circumstances are demonstrated. Development will only be permitted if it would protect or enhance the special character of the landscape so in accordance with Policy C3 of the South East Plan, the emphasis is on small-scale, sustainable proposals. Affordable housing schemes, and other proposals aimed at benefiting the economy and social well-being of the area, will be encouraged as long as they don’t compromise in any way the natural beauty of East Hampshire.

7.6 National Parks and AONBs are designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 by Natural England. Planning guidance on these areas is provided in PPS7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas at paragraphs 21 to 23.

7.7 The policies of the Core Strategy will seek to support the advice and ambitions of the South Downs Management Plan, which was produced in 2007. These policies will continue to be implemented until replaced by a National Park Authority strategy. The Council will work together with a future South Downs National Park Authority, adjoining local authorities and landowners towards forming future strategies for this unique area.

7.8 Much of the remaining countryside beyond the boundaries of the AONB and the national park is unspoilt and any development should not harm this, a fact recognised in policy C4 of the South East Plan. A Landscape Character Area Assessment (2006) covering the whole district identifies the distinctive features and character of the East Hampshire countryside and aims to ensure their retention and, where possible, enhancement. It is essential that the Core Strategy acknowledges the assessment and seeks to safeguard the unique character and appearance of the countryside for future generations. Working with landowners and others to ensure land management practices protect and enhance valued landscapes is also essential.

The Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation revealed:

7.9 There is general support for the protection, preservation and enhancement of the landscape within East Hampshire. Natural England is supportive as is English Heritage who stress the importance of a comprehensive overview of environmental issues and highlight the need for the historic and natural environment to be integrated and treated as a whole.

Options considered

7.10 National and regional policy states that important landscapes, such as the East Hampshire AONB and the South Downs National Park, must be conserved and enhanced. No alternatives to protecting them both were therefore considered. There is no encouragement for extra tiers of protection at local level so the Core Strategy should adopt a broad landscape policy approach for the district, which reflects the AONB/National Park and the other parts of the countryside that make this area so special.

7.11 The preferred policy on for landscape is therefore to conserve and enhance the AONB/National Park and seek to use the Landscape Character Assessment to protect other areas. There is also a need to maintain, protect and, where possible, enhance the historic natural landscape and those features which contribute to the district’s distinctive character, such as trees, lakes, rivers, woodlands, hedgerows and rural buildings.

7.12 Due to the rural nature of the district it is also important to work with landowners and others to ensure land management practices to improve public access to the countryside while ensuring those landscapes are protected and enhanced.

7.13 The Sustainability Appraisal found the Preferred Policy to provide a robust protection of the landscape.

Biodiversity

CP17 Preferred Biodiversity Policy

The Preferred Policy is to work with Natural England, the Environment Agency, Hampshire County Council, the Hampshire Wildlife Trust, the South Downs Joint Committee and a range of local organisations to protect and enhance the District’s biodiversity and its surrounding environment. Priority will be given to:

1) Protecting and enhancing international, national and locally designated sites of importance for biodiversity;

2) Protecting and strengthening populations of protected and target species;

3) Ensuring development seeks to produce a net gain in biodiversity by designing in wildlife and by ensuring that any adverse impacts are avoided where possible or if unavoidable they are appropriately mitigated for, with compensatory measures only used as a last resort;

4) Maintaining a district-wide network of local wildlife sites, wildlife corridors and stepping stones between these sites and other areas of natural green space to prevent the fragmentation of existing habitats and to allow species to respond to the impacts of climate change by making provision for habitat adaptation and species migration. Opportunities should be made available for them to spread, interconnect and expand taking into account guidance provided by the South Hampshire Green Infrastructure Strategy;

5) Assisting in achieving national, county and local biodiversity targets set out in the Hampshire, East Hampshire and Local Biodiversity Action Plans by encouraging land management practices that restore or enhance designated sites and native biodiversity including creating new sites;

6) Encouraging and developing public understanding of biodiversity and enabling public access to designated sites for the purpose of interpretation and understanding where feasible without harm to nature conservation interests; 

7) Extending specific protection to other sites and features which are of local value for wildlife, for example important trees and hedgerows, but which are not included in designated sites;

8) Supporting an ongoing programme of survey of habitats and species, and designation of Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs);

9) Protecting and enhancing open spaces in accordance with the District’s ‘Open Spaces and Built Facilities Study’ and taking into account guidance provided by the South Hampshire Green Infrastructure Strategy. Ensuring the provision of open space is also in advance of the relevant new developments being occupied;

10) Establishing planning zones around the Wealden Heaths Phase II Special Protection Area (SPA)* and the Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons SPA to ensure that residential development does not have a significant adverse effect on the integrity of the SPAs, alone or in combination with other plans or projects as set out below:

Developments that would result in a net increase in residential accommodation within the Planning Zone around the Wealden Heaths Phase II Special Protection Area (SPA) and the Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons SPA as shown on the proposals map, will be determined as follows:

  1. Within Zone A, additional residential accommodation will be refused planning permission unless, in exceptional circumstances, it is demonstrated that it would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the integrity of the SPA, alone or in combination with other plans or projects;
  2. Within Zone B, additional residential accommodation will be permitted subject to:
    1. The development providing, though a planning obligation or other legal agreement, either:
      • Adequate and suitable alternative natural green space to meet its own requirements for avoidance measures; or
      • A planning contribution to the strategic provision of alternative natural green space by the planning authority; and
    2. There being no other reason why the development would be likely to have a significant effect on the integrity of the SPA, alone or in combination with other proposals.

11) Creating a 500 metres buffer zone free from development around all other European designated sites in the district where possible.

*Note: The Wealden Heaths Phase II Special Protection Area comprises parts of Kingsley Common, Broxhead Common, Woolmer Forest, Ludshott Common and Hindhead Common)

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPS9, Circular 06/05 Biodiversity and Geological Conservation
South East Plan Policies NRM5, NRM6, NRM7, CC2 and CC8
Sustainable Community Strategy Priority Outcomes:
5.1 (1) Increase our understanding of the district’s biodiversity and habitat so that we can better protect key sites and species.
5.1 (2) Minimise the impact new development has on wildlife and the local landscape by ensuring new development enhances our designated sites. For example, through the use of sustainable design and appropriate mitigation measures.
5.1 (3)  Increase the resilience of wildlife in our remaining habitat fragments (eg to climate change) by enlarging / joining sites and increasing their connectivity with other areas.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
Core Strategy Objective CSOE3 To conserve and enhance designated sites and wider biodiversity.
CSOE9 To address the causes of climate change and ensure that the District is able to adapt to it.
Policy Indicators Core Output Indicator:
E2 Changes in areas of biodiversity importance.
Local Indicator:
Percentage of SSSIs in favourable or recovering condition.
Delivery Bodies EHDC, Hampshire County Council, Natural England, Environment Agency, local organisations, neighbouring authorities, development industry

Background evidence

7.14 Sites of biodiversity value in East Hampshire range from those covered by international legislation to sites of more local importance. Internationally important sites include Special Protection Areas (SPA), which are protected for their birdlife, among them the Wealden Heaths Phase II SPA and the Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons SPA, which lies just beyond the north eastern boundary of the district. There are also four Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) which are protected for their habitats - Woolmer Forest, Shortheath Common, The Hangers and Butser Hill. These international designations are collectively called ‘Natura 2000’ sites.

7.15 There are currently 15 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the district; they are recognised nationally for their flora and fauna, geological or landform features. East Hampshire’s SSSIs amount to 2705 hectares, 32% of which is in a favourable condition. The Local Nature Reserves (LNR) are habitats (279 hectares) of local or regional significance that make a useful contribution both to nature conservation and the opportunity for the community to see and learn about wildlife. There are also 554 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) which are locally identified as having county-wide status (6,111 hectares).

7.16 Details of the protection of the designated sites are set out in Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS9) and are therefore not duplicated in the Core Strategy.

7.17 Specific and stringent tests within the Habitats Regulations 1994 are in place in respect of ‘Natura 2000’ sites. Any development proposed within the district that might cause significant harm to these sites must be avoided. The tests ensure that it is most unlikely that harmful development would be acceptable. It will only be approved if there are no alternative solutions, if there is an overriding public interest for the development and if the overall coherence of the network of international sites is maintained.

7.18 The Core Strategy therefore needs to include sufficient safeguards for the ‘Natura 2000’ sites. A pre-screening report for the Core Strategy in accordance with the Habitats Regulations has been prepared. It is likely that a full Appropriate Assessment of the Core Strategy will be required. Such an assessment is currently being carried out for the Whitehill Bordon Green Town Vision; the results of this will be fed into the Core Strategy work.

7.19 The Wealden Heaths Phase II SPA is designated because of the presence of internationally important populations of rare birds. These birds are vulnerable to disturbance from recreational use of the heaths. If plans for house building increase recreation on the heaths this could be potentially damaging to the bird populations. The birds are especially vulnerable during nesting.

7.20 The location of the SPA may affect how much further development, particularly housing, can be built in the surrounding area, including at Whitehill/Bordon, Liphook, Liss, Headley and Grayshott. The Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons SPA also lies immediately to the north east of the district.

7.21 South East Plan Policy NRM5 sets out the need for buffer zones around SPAs so the Council’s preferred approach is to define planning zones around the SPA to indicate where any housing development will cause least damage. New housing should be prohibited within 400 metres of the SPAs, unless effective barriers can be created that will deter predators, such as cats.

7.22 Beyond the 400 metre zone any new housing development should be accompanied via the provision of Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANGS) either through the provision of new open space or significant improvements to existing sites. The SANGS would need to be provided before new housing is occupied and this approach is recommended in the pre-screening report for the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Core Strategy.

7.23 Where it is considered impractical or inappropriate to provide open space on site, the developer involved will pay towards providing the SANGS via a Section 106 Planning Agreement.

7.24 The Council will endeavour to locate development more than 500m from the other internationally-protected sites.

7.25 The Council will also engage with other South Hampshire authorities, Natural England and the Environment Agency to reduce the impact of recreational pressures from new housing on the coastal ‘Natura 2000’ sites.

7.26 Meeting new development needs while protecting and, where possible, enhancing biodiversity is a major challenge for the Core Strategy. It is important to ensure that development does not cause harm to the designated sites or the many other sites which are of local value for wildlife. For example, hedgerows, road verges, river valleys and farmland act as wildlife corridors and these habitats, as well as gardens and open spaces in built-up areas, all form an essential part of the overall wildlife diversity of the district.

7.27 The Council also has to address ensuring a healthy diversity of species across the district. Although the district has a large number of protected habitats, they are mostly small and fragmented. Isolated nature reserves and other protected sites are unlikely to sustain wildlife in the longer term, especially as the climate changes. Wildlife needs large, functional areas or networks which give it room to adapt to events like climate change so sites will need to be extended and linked if wildlife is to flourish.

7.28 New development can present risks in further fragmenting habitats. But it can also offer opportunities from sensitively located, landscaped and designed development to enhance links between existing habitats. This can be by appropriate landscaping and habitat creation, such as enhancing wildlife corridors and restoring key lost habitats including heathland and water meadows. This is supported by the South East Plan policy NRM5 which seek to ensure that opportunities for the connection of sites should be pursued.

7.29 The Council will be working alongside the South Hampshire Green Infrastructure Strategy and looking at creating a green network for the whole district. This will include working with neighbouring authorities to improve biodiversity and the Council will also be encouraging sustainable design of new developments which include enhancement of biodiversity.

7.30 The Hampshire and East Hampshire Biodiversity Action Plans provide a basis for future action to preserve and enhance biodiversity in the district. This needs to be reflected in the Core Strategy.

7.31 The preferred policy is to protect the countryside around towns and villages, except where required for urban extensions to meet the requirements of the South East Plan, and to direct development away from areas of biodiversity value.

The Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation revealed:

7.32 The need for development to be kept away from areas of biodiversity and for the conservation and enhancement of sites was shown as being a high priority. The creation of large interconnected areas of wildlife habitat so that species can move through the landscape was also supported (seen as very important by 70% of respondents).

7.33 The Home Builders Federation state that the SPA should be seen in a broader light where development can enhance biodiversity.

Options considered

7.34 Sites of conservation importance are recognised as being essential to the character and distinctiveness of the district. It is essential that the Council seeks to protect and enhance these sites in line with international, national, regional, county and local guidance. It is also important to protect and enhance key undesignated areas where appropriate and to protect and strengthen populations of protected and target species. Wherever development takes place the priority at the outset is for enhancement, such as management and habitat creation.

7.35 The need for development to enhance links between existing habitats is also essential. No alternatives to protecting and enhancing biodiversity were therefore considered.

7.36 South East Plan Policy NRM5 sets out the need for the highest level of protection for the Natura 2000 sites. The policy sets out how this will be achieved. No alternatives to this policy were considered.

Gaps between settlements 

CP18 PREFERRED GAPS BETWEEN SETTLEMENTS POLICY

The Council’s preferred approach is to protect the generally open and undeveloped nature of the following gaps between settlements that help to prevent coalescence and retain their separate identity:

Alton/Chawton
Alton/Holybourne
Bordon/Lindford
Lindford/Headley
Headley/Arford
Headley/Headley Down
Arford/Headley Down
Headley Down/Grayshott
Liss/Liss Forest
Liss/Hill Brow
Petersfield/Steep
Petersfield/Sheet
Clanfield/Old Clanfield
Horndean/Catherington/Clanfield
Horndean/Blendworth
Rowlands Castle/Havant

Priority will be given to ensuring that development within gaps will only be permitted if:

  1. it would not diminish the physical and/or visual separation of settlements;
  2. it would not compromise the integrity of the gap, either individually or cumulatively with other existing or proposed development; and
  3. it can not be located elsewhere.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPS7
South East Plan Policies C4, C5, SH1, para 16.6
Sustainable Community Strategy Priority Outcomes:
5.1(4) Prevent the loss of our community’s distinctive character by ensuring new development takes account of the wider area, such as neighbouring buildings, townscape and landscape. For example through the use of town and village design statements.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
Core Strategy Objective CSOE2  To conserve and enhance landscape quality and character and landscape designations.
Delivery Bodies EHDC, development industry

Background evidence

7.37 The principle of a gap policy is well established in development plans in East Hampshire, dating back to the South and Mid Hampshire Structure Plans (1988 and 1989), the Hampshire County Structure Plan (1994) and the Hampshire County Structure Plan 1996 - 2011 (Review). These structure plans and district local plans have sought to safeguard those gaps between settlements which contribute to giving these towns and villages their identity.

7.38 In many parts of East Hampshire the towns and villages are located relatively close together. Retaining the separate identity of each settlement has been a long-term goal of planning strategy and this approach is highly valued by local people. The gaps have helped guide where new urban development should be built and ensured the maintenance of open land between settlements. They have prevented settlements merging into one and losing their identity. Whilst the level of protection afforded by gaps has not been as strong as in areas designated as Green Belt, they have been important in decisions on individual planning applications.

7.39 Conversely, the gaps can limit development opportunities and guidance in PPS7 is that they should only be maintained where it can be clearly shown that other planning policies cannot provide the necessary protection.

7.40 The South East Plan does not include the policy contained in the earlier draft (March 2006) which set out criteria to guide the designation of strategic gaps. The policy is now considered inappropriate. The South East Plan does not encourage the use of local gaps across the region, although there is a reference to them being tested by the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) authorities (South East Plan Policy SH1).

7.41 Within South Hampshire, PUSH has specifically produced guidance to ensure a consistent approach is taken across the sub-region in terms of their criteria for designation – ‘Policy Framework for Gaps’ PUSH December 2008 (www.push.gov.uk).

7.42 In summary, the PUSH framework advocates the following criteria to select locations for gaps:

1. The open nature/sense of separation between settlements cannot be retained by other planning policies;

2. The land to be included with the gap performs an important role in defining the character of the area and stops villages merging together;

3. The extent of the gap should be no more than is necessary to prevent merging.

7.43 The government wants planning authorities to say where development will be promoted, rather than where it will be prevented, referring to paragraphs 24 to 25 of PPS7. This increasing emphasis on locating development in a sustainable way means that it is necessary to review the principle of gaps between settlements.

The Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation revealed:

7.44 The consultation revealed that the majority of respondents, 62%, feel it is not appropriate to amend or delete any of the strategic or local gaps. Hampshire County Council regard strategic and local gaps as having ‘potential to increase biodiversity, landscape quality and other environmental and health benefits’. The development industry highlights the constraint that gaps can have on providing development in the most sustainable locations.

Options considered

7.45 Two broad options were considered. One approach was to continue with a gap policy and set out criteria to earmark which gaps between towns and villages need to be identified to prevent their merging. The other approach was to delete the gaps and seek to protect the areas through countryside policies and the use of the landscape character assessment.

7.46 In the past they have played an important role in maintaining the separate character and identity of towns and villages in an area where development pressures are continuing. During consultation on the various district-wide local plans the District Council received significant support from residents for the principle of gaps.

7.47 The gaps have not been defined for the express purpose of protecting the countryside, but rather as a planning tool designed to shape the patterns of towns and villages. A clear break between settlements helps to maintain a "sense of place" for residents of, and visitors to, the communities on either side of the gaps. When passing from place to place (by all forms of transport) these gaps give a recognisable structure to a group of settlements, establishing in travellers’ minds that they have left one settlement before they arrive somewhere else.

7.48 Small scale developments, in keeping with the rural nature of the gaps, are not ruled out, subject to other planning policies. Gaps have another positive aspect - the open land adjacent to urban areas can be used for recreation and other green infrastructure purposes.

7.49 It is recognised that the merging of villages comes about through a gradual process so while one development of a particular site may not in itself result in merger it may be a contributory factor. Precedents could easily be set for this therefore the gaps have always been seen as having a long-term importance. Their continuing value as open and predominately undeveloped countryside depends on retaining them and enhancing their character.

7.50 East Hampshire has attached considerable importance to the continued existence of gaps: they command considerable public support, and the case for them remains valid. There has been no significant change in circumstances since they were first included in the development plan.

7.51 The Sustainability Appraisal concluded that the continuation of the gap policy would help to sustain vibrant town and village centres. The loss of their separate identity could reduce the number of people accessing services and facilities within the smaller centres.

7.52 The detailed boundaries of gaps would not be considered at this stage as this matter is too detailed for the Core Strategy. However the gaps should be no greater in size than is necessary and not normally be more than two miles wide at their widest point.

Determining which gaps should be within the Core Strategy

7.53 In the past the gaps have been designated where:

  • there are separate settlements which are close together and merger is undesirable; or
  • they are important for retaining village identity or character.

7.54 The gaps within the Second Review Local Plan have been reviewed against these criteria (see background paper on gaps). Additional gaps promoted through the Issues and Options consultation have also been assessed.

7.55 Following re-examination it was decided that all of the gaps in the Second Review Local Plan still perform the function of separating individual settlements, the identity of which would be lost by merger. An additional gap is included between Liss and Hill Brow. Locally important open and/or undeveloped land was seen to exist between these settlements which could be identified and placed within the gaps. The precise boundaries for the gaps will be identified in the Development Allocations document. In the meantime the extent of the existing gaps is identified on the inset maps of the adopted Local Plan under saved policy C11.

Protecting the wider environment - climate change

7.56 Research now shows that climate change is a very real issue. In the UK we are likely to experience rising sea levels and more extreme weather events, such as storms and flash flooding. Water supply may be affected due to longer, hotter and drier summers. The gradual increase in temperature and extremes of weather is likely to influence the way people live, as well as impact on the local economy. It will also affect eco-systems, the plants and animals which depend on them and the overall appearance of the landscape. Some research has been done on these issues but it is less clear at present how the farmed landscape, local economy and recreational use of the district will be affected.

7.57 It is therefore essential to address these needs, where possible, through the spatial planning process. Developments should be planned to minimise future vulnerability in a changing climate, and with both mitigation and adaption in mind. In providing for new homes, jobs and infrastructure, local planning can help shape and design places with lower carbon emissions, less reliance on water, planning for waste provision and planning for greater resilience to climate change.

7.58 Policy CC1 of the South East Plan identifies the sustainable development priorities for the South East as:

  1. Achieving sustainable levels of resource use
  2. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the region
  3. Ensuring that the South East is prepared for the inevitable impacts of climate change
  4. Ensuring that the most deprived people also have an equal opportunity to benefit from and contribute to a better quality of life

7.59 The key areas identified at the local level where the planning process can influence and help address climate change are:

  • Sustainable construction, including renewable energy
  • Flood risk management
  • Water resources and water quality
  • Air quality/pollution
  • Sustainable transport

These key areas are elaborated upon below except for sustainable transport which is discussed in the transport chapter.

Sustainable construction

CP19 PREFERRED SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION POLICY

The District’s preferred approach to sustainable construction is to ensure that development¹ will only be allowed if:

1) On completion it meets the following minimum Code for Sustainable Homes threshold level, and equivalents for non-residential development, as set out below:

All residential development achieves at least the following level of the Code for Sustainable Homes All multi-residential and non-residential developments with a floor space of over 500 m2 must achieve at least the following BREEAM standards
Until the end of 2011 3 BREEAM ‘very good’
from 2012 4 BREEAM ‘excellent’
from 2016 6 BREEAM ‘excellent’

2) It contributes to the delivery of decentralised and renewable or low carbon energy. Developers will be required to provide at least 10% of energy demand from decentralised and renewable or low carbon energy sources in housing schemes of over 10 dwellings and commercial schemes of over 1,000m², unless, having regard to the type of development involved and its design, this is not feasible or viable;

3) Major areas of development² must ensure that their on-site renewable or low carbon energy production is maximised and resource efficiency is maximised³;

4) On sites of fewer than 10 dwellings and commercial schemes of under 1,000m² and on larger developments where energy infrastructure is not feasible or viable, a financial carbon offset contribution may be accepted that can be used to provide sustainable energy elsewhere within the area;

5) It provides adequate land or funding for waste management infrastructure, and

6) It achieves the highest standards for water conservation in line with the Code.

Note:

¹ For these purposes, ‘development’ means 1 dwelling or more and 500m² or more of non-residential floorspace.
² Major areas of development are ≥250 dwellings or ≥5,000m² of non-residential development
³ Applicants will be expected to submit a statement of how this has been achieved as part of the planning application.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPS1 Supplement ‘Planning and Climate Change
South East Plan Policies CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4, NRM11, NRM12, SH8
Sustainable Community Strategy Key Outcomes:
3.1 (3) Increase the number of energy efficient homes to minimise fuel poverty and the impact on the environment.
5.1 (2) Minimise the impact new development has on wildlife and the local landscape by ensuring new development enhances our designated sites. For example, through the use of sustainable design and appropriate mitigation measures.
5.3 (2) Increase energy efficiency and use of renewable and low-carbon energy in new and existing development.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
3.Improve our focus on special community groups
  • Seek out and reduce poverty through improved social justice.
Core Strategy Objective CSOE6 To increase energy efficiency in new and existing developments and to maximise the proportion of energy generated from renewable resources.
CSOE9 To address the causes of climate change and ensure that the District is able to adapt to it.
Policy Indicators Core Output Indicator:
E3 Renewable Energy generation by installed capacity.
Local Indicator:
Percentage of housing Code level 3 and above.
Delivery Bodies EHDC, Environment Agency, Water Companies, OFWAT, development industry

Background evidence

7.60 Ensuring development is sustainable and adapts to climate change are fundamental goals, as established in PPS1 and its supplement ‘Planning and Climate Change’. The importance of the issue regionally is also in policies CC1-4 of the South East Plan. These policies require ‘measures to mitigate and adapt to current and forecast effects of climate change will be implemented through applications of local planning policy and other mechanisms’.

7.61 There is now more concern with the environmental performance of new development and the impact of individual buildings and their resilience to climate change. The government is working towards a goal of achieving zero carbon housing by 2016 through amending building regulations. The timetable seeks to achieve a 20% reduction in carbon emissions from new homes by 2010 and nearly 50% by 2013 before reaching zero carbon in 2016. It announced in the 2008 Budget an ambition for all new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon from 2019.

7.62 We now have the Code for Sustainable Homes which sets out national standards for sustainable design and construction of new homes. Its introduction has enabled planning policy to align with its different levels and enabled a wider understanding and acceptance of sustainable construction. There are six levels of the Code, at each level there are minimum standards. It includes standards for energy and water efficiency and also other sustainable factors, such as materials, recycling, cycle spaces, home offices, waste and ecology. Under current proposals, only the energy performance of new homes is to become mandatory over time through the changes to building regulations mentioned above. The government has, however, recently committed to bring forward an amendment to building regulations (statutory standards of construction and design) to include a requirement for a minimum standard of water efficiency in new homes.

7.63 Policy CC4 of the South East Plan states that higher levels of building performance can be set in certain circumstances if they can be justified.

7.64 Higher standards of sustainable construction aligned to the Code for Sustainable Homes have been devised in the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) Policy Framework. It has been developed jointly by all of the PUSH authorities, forming a common approach. The targets in the policy framework set out a timetable for reaching the government target of zero carbon homes by 2016. These have been set in the context of the impact that climate change will have on the area and the progress being made by the development industry in creating lower carbon products. These principles in the policy framework have been reproduced in the preferred policy above. The use of the Code for Sustainable Homes has benefits because it has minimum requirements for water efficiency.

7.65 In some instances sustainable construction may not be viable or suitable, for example, in a conservation area. In these circumstances, the Council will need to take a more flexible approach and the developer will need to justify why sustainable measures cannot be met. 

7.66 The PUSH Policy Framework suggests that developers could be asked to adopt an approach to reducing carbon emissions involving one or more of the following, in order of priority:

  1. Maximising passive energy efficiency (for example, good use of windows to generate heat from the sun naturally);
  2. Incorporating renewable energy on site (solar panels, for example);
  3. Utilisation of low carbon energy supply;
  4. On small development sites, contributions to a carbon offset fund (payments to compensate for the carbon emissions generated)

7.67 The small developments referred to in point 4 are sites with fewer than 10 homes and less than 1,000m² of non-residential floorspace. The financial carbon offset contribution would be used to provide sustainable energy elsewhere within the area.

7.68 Waste management infrastructure ranges from non recyclable, recyclable and composting bins by the back door to material recycling centres in major developments. The integration of facilities within new development will be required.

7.69 Government policy also encourages to seek a percentage of energy from renewable or low carbon sources, such as wind turbines, the use of passive solar energy, solar water heating, photovoltaics (conversion of sunlight directly into electricity), ground source heat pumps and biomass (plant matter grown to generate electricity). These technologies together with greater insulation are seen as the way to make new housing ‘carbon neutral’ by 2016.

7.70 South East Plan Policy NRM11 allows authorities to set out a target percentage of energy in new developments to come from decentralised and renewable or low-carbon energy sources where viable. In advance of local targets it sets a target at 10% in housing schemes of over 10 properties and commercial schemes of over 1,000m².

The Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation revealed:

7.71 The consultation revealed that sustainable construction is seen as important with 90% of respondents expecting the Council to require developers to achieve higher levels of sustainable building performance where opportunities arise. An overwhelming 82% of respondents believe that the Council should require developers to incorporate renewable energy sources in all new developments.

7.72 Hampshire County Council supports a requirement for ‘developers to achieve higher levels of building performance’ and suggests that ‘such an approach should be aligned with the PUSH Sustainability Policy’. They appreciate financial pressures, particularly for brownfield land, but the principle of incorporating renewable/sustainable energy sources into new developments in accordance with guidance is supported. They say that the ‘potential to secure this will depend on site and proposal’.

7.73 Natural England’s concern is to ensure the drive for renewable energy developments does not compromise biodiversity and designated sites as well as landscape interests.  However, proposals for renewable energy developments will be considered if their scale, form, design and materials are sympathetic with the surrounding landscape or built environment, and would not impact on the local community, economy, nature conservation and historical interests.

7.74 The development industry expressed concern over applying a level of sustainability for new homes that duplicates building regulations. Smaller sites are also thought unlikely to meet higher levels of the Code due to the costs involved. There may be a need to consider sustainability on a site-by-site basis and dependent upon the level of affordable housing to be provided.

Options considered

7.75 Achieving sustainable construction is well covered in existing national and regional guidance and has been enhanced by the introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The government has outlined a timetable to achieve zero carbon in 2016 through amending building regulations in line with the levels in the Code.

7.76 The preferred approach is to apply the higher PUSH standards aligned to the Code for Sustainable Homes across the district (with Whitehill/Bordon having its own specific standards). This approach would provide a quicker progression to zero carbon development throughout East Hampshire. The higher levels of the Code would automatically set higher standards for water efficiency which is crucial since the south east has been identified as a region of serious water stress. The Climate Change Supplement to PPS1, published in December 2007, gives support to the idea of locally set targets to sustainable construction.

7.77 This approach is also recommended in the pre-screening report for the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Core Strategy. The Code includes targets for recycling and assessing the ecological impact of development to help curb urbanisation on Special Protection Areas.

7.78 An alternative approach to sustainable construction to that outlined above would be to apply higher standards to specific development areas and sites. South East Plan Policy CC4 states that local planning authorities may be able to anticipate levels of building sustainability before national guidelines are in place, though they would have to be able to justify it. There are opportunities for this at Whitehill/Bordon. This could be coupled with the application of the PUSH principles to only the South Hampshire part of the district and larger housing sites elsewhere. These specific sites could be determined in the Allocations Development Plan Document when the viability of introducing higher building sustainability standards can be assessed. However, this would not provide a consistent approach in the district.

7.79 Another planning policy consideration is whether to increase the requirement for 10% of energy to be used in new development to come from decentralised and renewable or low-carbon energy sources on a district-wide basis.

7.80 The introduction of the Code will in itself mean more use of renewables and low-carbon energy but cost may have to be considered. Renewable energy generation on individual buildings is currently more expensive than a site-wide system which serves a range of properties. The mix of system types within a new development has a significant effect on costs.

7.81 In East Hampshire a high proportion of its new housing is on relatively small sites. The best economies of scale on renewable/low-carbon energy sources are currently on sites of over 250 homes where site-wide systems can be provided. The smaller sites run the risk of incurring more costs if they cannot provide a site-wide energy system. This could lead to the inability to pay for other social or community projects or an unwillingness of landowners and developers to release land in the first place. This economic viability can only be tested out on a site-by-site basis and any increase in renewable/low-carbon energy sources will have to be specified in the Allocations Development Plan Document. Where economic viability is questionable commuted payments can be requested towards energy infrastructure elsewhere within the area.

Flood Risk Management

CP20 PREFERRED FLOOD RISK POLICY

The Council’s preferred approach to flood risk is to ensure that development meets the sequential and exception test (where required) in relation to PPS25 and the findings of the district-wide Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. Priority will be given to:

1) Allowing development proposals that avoid areas of flood risk and which do not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere;

2) Ensuring that development on land at risk of flooding meets the sequential and exception test (where required) in relation to PPS25;

3) Applying stringent requirements for adaptation, mitigation and making it safe where development, in exceptional cases, is allowed in areas of flood risk;

4) Ensuring that development is avoided in areas at risk from, susceptible to, or has a history of groundwater flooding. If this is not possible then the development should be designed to incorporate flood resistance and resilience measures as advised in PPS25;

5) Ensuring that development includes arrangements for surface water drainage so that risk of flooding is not increased within the site or elsewhere;

6) Incorporating, where appropriate, sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) to ensure there is no net increase in surface water runoff. Where SuDs are provided arrangements must be put in place for their whole life management and maintenance;

7) Ensuring that flood protection measures minimise damage to nature conservation and biodiversity interests.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS25, PPS1, PPS1 Supplement ‘Planning and Climate Change, PPS3
South East Plan Policies NRM4, CC2 and SH8
Sustainable Community Strategy 5.2 (3) Continue to improve the quality of local rivers.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
Core Strategy Objective CSOE6 Minimise the impact of development upon water resources both in terms of supply and flood risk management.
CSOE9 To address the causes of climate change and ensure that the District is able to adapt to it.
Policy Indicators Core Output Indicator:
E1 Number of planning permissions granted contrary to Environment Agency advice on flooding.
Delivery Bodies EHDC, Environment Agency, OFWAT, development industry

Background evidence

7.82 PPS25 outlines the increasing risk of flooding due to the potential effects of climate change. There is an ongoing and increasing need to appraise, manage and reduce flood risk. The South East Plan Policy NRM4 highlights the need for effective protection, sustainable drainage systems and increasing flood storage capacity.

7.83 Flood risk is an important issue for the district. The main areas subject to flood risk are identified in the East Hampshire District Council Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) completed in April 2008. This is further supported by the South Hampshire SFRA 2007. The SFRA will inform the location of new development that must minimise the risk to lives and property.

7.84 PPS25 requires new development to be located where possible in areas of low flood risk (Flood Zone 1 – less than 1 in 1,000 annual probability of fluvial flooding). If after applying the Sequential Test no reasonably appropriate location is available in Flood Zone 1, consideration can be given to sites in Zone 2 (between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 100 annual probability), and then Zone 3 (greater than 1 in 100 annual probability) but must apply the Exception Test outlined in PPS25. These flood zones are reiterated by South East Plan Policy NRM4 which states that inappropriate development should not be allocated or permitted in zones 2 and 3.

7.85 Development will therefore only be permitted in areas at risk from flooding where locations at lower risk are not available and measures are provided to demonstrate the development is safe from flooding. This will need to be justified by an exception test as outlined in PPS25. New development should also include arrangements for surface water drainage, where appropriate, so that risk of flooding is not increased within the site or elsewhere.

7.86 The flood risk maps within the SFRA identify the areas of flood risk including groundwater flooding. The maps enable the sequential test to be applied and so steer the broad locations for development away from areas at risk of flooding.

7.87 Flood risk assessments prepared for individual sites will consider flood risk, surface water run-off issues and the potential for sustainable drainage systems to minimise flood risk. Any development within areas of flood risk will require flood management, mitigation measures and demonstrate that the development is safe from flooding.

Options considered

7.88 A precautionary approach to development in areas of flood risk is essential to avoid risk now and in the future. It is likely that there will be few exceptions to the avoidance of flood risk in the location of development. No alternative approaches were considered in dealing with flood risk as the approach is required by national planning policy guidance. However, in view of the nature of flood risk in the district, in particular groundwater flooding, it is considered appropriate to set out in the Core Strategy the key requirements of PPS25 and the need to comply with the findings of the district-wide strategic flood risk assessment.

Water Resources/Water Quality

CP21 PREFERRED WATER RESOURCES/WATER QUALITY POLICY

The Council’s preferred approach is to work with others to protect the quality and quantity of, and make efficient use of water resources and ensure that they are provided where necessary. Priority will be given to:

1) Protecting and enhancing the quality and quantity of groundwater;

2) Protecting and enhancing surface water features and controlling aquatic pollution;

3) Ensuring new development has an adequate means of water supply, sufficient foul and surface water drainage and sewerage treatment capacity.  Development must be phased to take into account the timing of any new water resource development and sewage treatment infrastructure required. Any additional provision or improvement of infrastructure must be funded in advance of development taking place;

4) Safeguarding the site identified for the Havant Thicket reservoir.

5) Achieving the highest standards for water conservation in line with the Code for Sustainable Homes.

6) Only permitting development within a Groundwater Protection Zone if there is no adverse impact on the quality of the groundwater source or a risk to its ability to maintain a public water supply.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPS1 Supplement ‘Planning and Climate Change
Draft South East Plan Policies CC2, CC3, CC4, CC7, NRM1, NRM2, NRM3, SH8
Sustainable Community Strategy Key Outcomes:
5.2 (3) Continue to improve the quality of local rivers.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
Core Strategy Objective CSOE5 To maintain and enhance water quality, water supply and groundwater; minimise the impact of development upon water resources, both in terms of supply and flood risk management.
CSOE7 To seek to reduce pollution of land, air, soil and water by development.
CSOE9 To address the causes of climate change and ensure that the District is able to adapt to it.
Policy Indicators Core Output Indicator:
E1 Number of planning permissions granted contrary to Environment Agency advice on water quality grounds.
Delivery Bodies Utility Services, EHDC, Environment Agency

Background evidence

7.89 The water supply in East Hampshire is a precious resource and it is imperative that it is safeguarded during development. National and regional policy fully supports this stance and there is now the European Water Framework Directive which looks at delivering a better water environment. Future development needs to be planned carefully so that it does not result in further pressure on the water environment and compromise Water Framework Directive objectives.

7.90 South East Plan Policy NRM1 requires new development to be directed to areas where adequate water supply can be guaranteed while policy NRM2 seeks to ensure that adequate wastewater and sewerage capacity is provided.

7.91 An Integrated Water Management Study (Phase II) has been carried out for the whole of South Hampshire. To cover the rest of Hampshire, Hampshire County Council commissioned a ‘Rest of Hampshire’ Water Cycle Study and the Core Strategy will reflect its findings. The Whitehill/Bordon Green Town Vision has carried out a Stage 1 Outline Water Cycle Study. The findings from this will lead to a full study in the near future.

Water resources

7.92    The chalk aquifer dominates the freshwater environment of the district.  Water resources are therefore already fully committed.  A twin-track approach of demand management and water resource development is supported by Policy NRM1 in the South East Plan and East Hampshire recognises the importance of implementing this approach by promoting efficient use of existing water resources, while recognising the development of new water resources, such as the Havant Thicket Winter Storage Reservoir. This reservoir will not only provide further water resources but will provide a real opportunity to create a natural and sustainable recreational attraction.  The site will continue to be protected from other development (South East Plan Policy NRM 3) and a timetable for its delivery has been proposed:

  • 2010-2012 - early preparatory work (inc. habitat creation, removal of trees, path diversons)
  • 2013-2015 site preparation ( inc. construction of access road and site compound)
  • 2015-2018 – main construction phase ( inc. drainage, embankment construction, creation of path network )
  • 2018-2020 – filling in and commissioning ( pumping water from springs and ancillary amenities )

7.93 The reservoir and related infrastructure will be funded by Portsmouth Water Company through the payments by customers. The visitor centre is expected to be paid for by lottery funding. The Water Company will expect contributions from the local authorities to improve links with paths outside the site.

7.94 The Government is committed to promoting the efficient use of existing water resources by bringing forward an amendment to building regulations and is reviewing the Water Supply (Water Fitting) Regulations 1999. This is likely to reflect the standards set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes, which has minimum requirements for water efficiency at each of its six levels. The Environment Agency has demonstrated that it is possible to achieve Level 3 (105 litres per head/day) in a new building at low cost (WRc Report UC7231 September 2006).

Water quality

7.95 In response to the Issues and Options consultation the water companies stressed the need for an overarching policy on infrastructure. New infrastructure needs to meet stricter standards set by the Environment Agency and reflect the view taken by Ofwat ‘that water and sewerage companies should seek finance through developer contributions’. Infrastructure required for new development should be phased, timed and funded in advance of that development taking place and in some circumstances that may make it necessary for developers to carry out studies on the existing infrastructure and examine options.

Groundwater protection

7.96 The Environment Agency, in response to the Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation, highlighted that protection should be given to our groundwater which is vital for drinking water and maintaining the flow of the watercourses within the district. The Council will consult with the Environment Agency on proposals for residential, industrial or commercial development which may pose a threat to groundwater resources. The Environment Agency’s "Groundwater Protection: Policy and Practice (GP3)" provides further guidance and is therefore not duplicated in the Core Strategy.

Options considered

7.97 No alternative approaches were considered in dealing with the protection of the water environment as the approach is required by national and regional policy guidance. A Core Strategy policy is regarded as appropriate to ensure that new development does not significantly alter or pollute groundwater/freshwater flows. This is particularly important near sites of nature conservation value where developers must be able to demonstrate that the water resources are safe.

7.98 New development can place increased pressure on water quality. Avoiding adverse effects is largely in the hands of the water companies (through investment in sewage treatment infrastructure) and the Environment Agency (who issue consent for anyone wanting to discharge effluent). Development in the district must therefore be phased and timed to keep pace with the provision of necessary sewage treatment infrastructure, in order to avoid placing excessive demands upon an overburdened system. Housing development will be directed initially towards those catchments that still have capacity.

7.99 Options are available for the application of standards for water efficiency.

7.100 South East Plan Policy NRM1 allows for new development needing to be supported by water efficiency standards. One approach could be to wait for these new standards. In the meantime any increased standards could be specified for individual sites in the Allocations Development Plan Document.

7.101 Because water is such a precious commodity, South East Plan Policy SH8, which applies to South Hampshire, states that water use in new development needs to decrease by between 8% and 20% compared to the national average in 2005. The Code for Sustainable Homes has minimum requirements for water efficiency for all of its six levels. The higher levels of the Code would automatically set higher standards for water efficiency reflecting the fact that the south east is a region of serious water stress. This approach is also recommended in the pre-screening report for the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Core Strategy.

Pollution

CP22 PREFERRED POLLUTION POLICY

The Council’s preferred approach is to ensure that the impacts of pollution are minimised wherever possible. This will be achieved by ensuring that developments causing pollution and developments sensitive to pollution are appropriately separated and designed to reduce the risk of unacceptable impacts. 

Engineering or administrative controls may also be required to provide sufficient protection. In these cases, the preferred approach will be to focus on reducing pollution emission at source. 

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS23, PPG24
Draft South East Plan Policies NRM9, NRM10
Sustainable Community Strategy Key Outcomes:
5.2.(1) Improve the quality of the local environment.
5.2.(2) Ensure pollution is quickly addressed.
5.2.(3) Continue to improve the quality of rivers.
5.2.(4) Control noise to improve tranquillity across the district.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
Core Strategy Objective CSOE7 To prevent development resulting in unacceptable levels of air, noise, land or other pollution and to ensure that new development is adequately protected against such pollution
Policy Indicators Local Output Indicator:
Locations failing to meet air quality standards.
Delivery Bodies EHDC, development industry

Background evidence

7.102 Pollution has an impact upon human health. Research has shown that levels of land contamination, air quality and excessive noise for example, can impact upon human health but may also impact upon the natural environment. In addition, evidence shows that significant community dissatisfaction can result where developments fail to consider localised impacts that can seriously affect the amenity of an area and the general wellbeing of residents. 

7.103 The South East Plan Policy NRM9 seeks to ensure that air quality objectives are achieved. Meeting the targets for nitrogen dioxide emissions will pose a huge challenge in East Hampshire particularly for developments that threaten changes in road traffic generation, road speeds or the numbers of heavy goods vehicles. Also of concern are odours from commercial food outlets, industrial and agricultural processes.

7.104 South East Plan Policy NRM9 spells out the need to avoid potential impacts of new development and increased traffic levels on internationally designated nature conservation sites. The section on biodiversity seeks to ensure that development retains, protects and enhances features of biological or geological interest. There might be a case, therefore, for developers to pay towards monitoring the effects of air pollution on the ‘Natura 2000’ sites and the improved management of these sites experiencing nutrient enrichment. The pre-screening report for the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Core Strategy also recommends that all road improvements should be sited 200 metres from the boundary of any ‘Natura 2000’ site.

7.105 The Core Strategy transport policies seek to reduce the use of the private car and encouraging other initiatives to minimise the impact of air pollution. They identify the need to demonstrate that alternatives to the car are encouraged in new developments.

7.106 South East Plan Policy NRM10 deals with noise. Within East Hampshire developments resulting in the generation of significant outdoor noise or evening and late-night entertainment noise poses the most significant challenge to protecting neighbour amenity. The Council stresses that its strategies are focused on the control of noise at source. The sound proofing of homes is not generally the preferred option because of the difficulties in providing natural ventilation without compromising the effectiveness of the building design. 

7.107 East Hampshire has significant areas of highly-valued open land boasting exceptionally low levels of ambient noise and the Council seeks to protect the tranquillity of such areas. 

7.108 DEFRA, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has commissioned noise mapping around Rowlands Castle and the Clanfield/Horndean area. It is expected that action plans to reduce environmental noise will be developed. Development will need to support and be compatible with these plans.

7.109 Land contamination is covered in PPS23. There are many sites within the district, including designated landfill sites and areas that have been used for landfill, which may have been subject to land contamination and will have to be cleaned up before development can take place. It is important to ensure that before development occurs within or close to these areas, these risks are properly investigated, assessed and cleaned up. The district also has a number of major aquifers that are particularly sensitive to contamination. Protection of these aquifers is a priority.

7.110 Artificial lighting, in particular from sports pitch floodlights but also other buildings, has been recognised as disturbing to some residents. Where there are low levels of existing artificial lighting, controls on new lighting schemes is likely to be particularly important.

Options considered

7.111 South East Plan policies provide a comprehensive coverage of dealing with air quality and different forms of pollution. The Core Strategy policy sets the local context for the more strategic policies. No separate options were considered for this issue.

Green infrastructure

7.112 The green infrastructure is the natural and managed green areas and other environmental features within rural and urban settings. The benefits of these spaces for the economy, local people and wildlife must be recognised as more than just a precious local resource. East Hampshire and other partners define green infrastructure as a ‘holistic approach to viewing the natural environment which acknowledges the multiple benefits and vital functions it provides for the economy, wildlife, local people and communities alike’. (Towards a Green Infrastructure Strategy for South Hampshire: Advice to PUSH (July 2008). It will be important, both now and in the future, to understand this wider view of our open spaces and the links between them both to the wider landscape and East Hampshire’s towns and villages.

CP23 PREFERRED GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE POLICY

The Council’s preferred approach is to develop a green infrastructure strategy for the district for adoption as a later supplementary planning document.  Priority will be given to:

1) Safeguarding existing green infrastructure;

2) Identifying new and/or key areas of green infrastructure. This may include, links and stepping stones between sites and other areas of natural green space to create a wider green infrastructure network taking into account guidance provided by the South Hampshire Green Infrastructure Strategy; and

3) Promoting a wider understanding of green infrastructure and its uses and functions.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPG17 and Companion Guide
South East Plan Policies CC5, CC8, TSR2, TSR3, TSR4, TSR6, S1, S5, S6.
Towards a Green Infrastructure Strategy for South Hampshire: Advice to PUSH
Sustainable Community Strategy Priority Outcomes:
3.4 (1): Increase access to leisure and recreation, through more local facilities (such as informal youth drop-in facilities) and improved transport.
3.4 (2): Increase the access for disabled children, children in care and young carers to leisure activities and employment opportunities.
3.6 (1): Increase the number of people exercising regularly.
3.6 (2) Increase the use of land and access to leisure facilities; in particular for young people and by ensuring they reflect the current popular pursuits.
3.6 (3): Improve the management of and maintenance of play areas.
3.6 (4): Increase access to the district’s rights of way, green spaces and recreation areas and allotments.
5.5 (2): create an attractive built environment where people want to live, work, shop and play with good community facilities, leisure and employment opportunities an improved mix of housing types.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
2. Safer and more vibrant communities.
  • Developing better facilities in our towns and villages
3. Improve our focus on special community groups.
  • Helping our children and young people to improve their quality of life.
Core Strategy Objectives To provide and retain a range of high quality recreation facilities and open spaces.
To improve people’s access to formal and informal recreation facilities and open space.
Delivery Body EHDC, HCC, developers, Natural England, Forestry Commission and other related bodies.

Background evidence

7.113 Planning Policy Statement 12: Creating Strong Safe and Prosperous Communities through Local Spatial Planning (PPS12) identifies the need for core strategies to address the issue of green infrastructure. Increasingly green infrastructure is being recognised for its value to natural resources and biodiversity, as well as the opportunities that it can offer for a higher quality of life through design and recreation.

7.114 The South East Plan now includes Policy CC8 which relates specifically to green infrastructure. Add that to PPS12 and it is clear that the issue is becoming increasingly important and relevant to any development considerations in the district. The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) is already looking to develop a green infrastructure strategy. In addition, proposals at Whitehill/Bordon for an eco-town will boast exemplary green credentials. Given the importance of green infrastructure now and in the future the Council feels it is appropriate to include a policy in the Core Strategy.

7.115 It will however be important to avoid the risk of being too narrowly focused on planning and also to consider how the strategy will be delivered.  There are other benefits that can be attributed to green infrastructure, for example mitigating and adapting to climate change, health and well-being or heritage, all of which can be missed if the approach is solely focused on planning.  Evidence collected as part of the Open Space, Sports and Recreation Survey will provide a valuable source of information for any future strategy.

The Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation revealed:

7.116 The work that has been undertaken by PUSH was seen as being worthy of inclusion and also that it should be applied to the whole district. Natural England encouraged this inclusion and suggested that green infrastructure and provision of multi functional green networks should also be discussed. They went on to recommend the creation and expansion of pedestrian and cycle routes, the creation of wildlife habitats, tree planting, landscaping plus the need to explore opportunities for sustainable and biodiversity design. Examples of best practice were the major development areas at West of Waterlooville, and Woolston Riverside near Southampton.

Options considered

7.117 The South East Plan now includes a green infrastructure policy (Policy CC8) that recognises the value of green spaces, landscapes and natural elements that intersperse and connect our cities, town and villages. In relation to development at Whitehill/Bordon it will be necessary to ensure that there is a network of accessible, multifunctional green space to provide recreational opportunities while maintaining and improving biodiversity.

7.118 Taking this into account, along with more general government guidance in PPG17, the option to ‘do nothing’ and ‘maintain the status quo’ is not regarded as a reasonable alternative. 

7.119 There is a growing need to establish a green infrastructure framework for the district. The appropriate solution, therefore, is to include for the future provision of a local strategy in its own right in the Core Strategy.

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.
back to top back to top